What is International Tiger Day?
International Tiger Day, also known as Global Tiger Day, was started in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. This day is intended to raise awareness of the plight of tigers, so that steps can be taken to protect these rare animals and the habitat they call home.
All About Tigers
Tigers are members of the Panthera genus, also called “big cats”. This genus includes the lion, the leopard, and the jaguar. Tigers are the largest cat species of all, and easily recognizable by their black striped pattern and orange (or sometimes white) fur. Though often mistakenly believed to be from Africa, tigers are actually only found in Asia.
Though there is only one species of tiger, there are several separate populations, though many more have been completely wiped out.
|Wild Safari Bengal Tiger (Male)||Wild Safari Bengal Tiger (Female)||Wild Safari Bengal Tiger Cub|
The Bengal tiger is probably the most popular and well-known type of tiger, often seen in zoos. It currently lives in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. It once lived in Pakistan as well, but was driven to extinction in that region. The Bengal tiger’s coat is yellow to reddish yellow, though it may sometimes be white.
The Siberian tiger, by comparison, is paler and larger, with a thicker coat for its colder habitat. It lives in the Siberian region of Russia, with a small population in China. It once inhabited North and South Korea, as well as Mongolia, but has since gone extinct in those areas.
|Wild Safari White Bengal Tiger||Wild Safari White Bengal Tiger Cub|
Other populations include the Indochinese tiger, Malayan tiger, and Sumatran tiger. The Javan tiger, Bali tiger, South China tiger, and Caspian tiger, meanwhile, have all gone extinct in the wild.
Why Do Tigers Need Protecting? And Why are Tigers Important?
Although tigers were once found all over Asia, they have been wiped out of over 90% of their range over the last century. They are now endangered, mainly from habitat destruction and poaching (illegal hunting). As of 2016, there are believed to be fewer than 4,000 tigers in total living in the wild.
|Wildlife Wonders Siberian Tiger||Wildlife Wonders White Tiger|
Tigers are an important species for many reasons. They have a long history of significance in the folklore and stories of many cultures, appearing in myths and stories dating back hundreds of years.
Furthermore, tigers are important to maintaining the balance of the ecosystems in which they live. As an apex predator species, tigers help to control the population of prey animals. Too many prey animals can cause vegetation levels to fall dangerously low, which can ultimately cause the entire ecosystem to break down. Without tigers, it all falls apart.
How Can We Help Save Tigers?
Thankfully, many organizations are working hard in an effort to save this remarkable animal. The World Wildlife Fund, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Panthera.org are just a few of the groups dedicated to ensuring the tiger sticks around to inspire awe for generations to come.
Simply spreading the word can help too. By raising awareness on Global Tiger Day, you can help educate others about why tigers need our help now more than ever.